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Old 06-13-2011, 06:39 PM
Trier Trier is offline
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SpectraFix = casein?

I read the SpectraFix website to say that the fixative is casein thinned with alcohol.

If so, does anyone know if the DIY casein, made from the terrific instructions supplied by D. B. Clemons, will give the same results re non loss of value for light pastels as SpectraFix? I know I could run a test myself but I would like to save the money, time and hassle of getting the SpectraFix.

Any words of advice or enlightenment would be appreciated.

Regards
Trier
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:29 PM
el Tea el Tea is offline
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Re: SpectraFix = casein?

In regards to the changing and darkening of soft pastels when fixatives are used, some of the fault lies in how strong and penetrating the resins within the fixatives are, how heavily they are applied, etc.; but a fair amount of blame for color shifts can be blamed on the amount of fillers and chalk that is used by the manufacturer of the pastel sticks.

If a light blue pastel stick is made from Ultramarine Blue pigment and made into tints by the addition of chalk (which is often the case with student grade pastels), when the blue tint is sprayed with any fixative, no matter how excellent the quality of the fixative is, the chalk portion of the mark will largely disappear even after the fixative is fully dry and the color of the blue could shift from a light tint to something closer to the color of a thin layer of ultramarine blue oil paint. If instead of chalk, the manufacturer used Titanium White to mix with the Ultramarine Blue, the marks made by that pastel stick will change little at all under a light layer of fixative.

Soft pastels are not supposed to be smear-proof after being fixed. It can be used to isolate different layers of the painting from intermixing unintentionally, and to reduce the migration of dust within the frame. Using too much fixative, no matter how carefully applied, will alter the manner that the light rays refract off the pastel's surface. Loose dust should be knocked off the painting prior to fixing, then spray the lightest coat possible and do not spray so much on that it appears damp.

I consigned a batch of pastels to a gallery who then framed the pieces. Without my permission, they used so much fixative that I didn't recognize my own work. The entire surface was shiny rather than velvety matt. I successfully sued for the entire consignment price and was able to keep the ruined work to prevent my work from being sold or displayed in a manner I would never endorse. It is up to each artist to choose whether or not they wish to use fixatives, or under what circumstances they wish to use them, but in my personal opinion, if so much fixative is used that the velvety matt surface is no longer just that, the artist has changed the medium from soft pastel to something else entirely.

I do like Spectrafix, and even though they claim little or no color shift, I notice some. If the mist should include larger droplets that are visible after it dries, or if I didn't get out of the rain in time, all you need to do to repair the dark spots is to wait until the painting is entirely dry, then agitate that spot lightly and the dark spot will disappear. I also like Spectrafix because it can be used safely indoors without fancy ventilation or in a classroom setting.

Last edited by el Tea : 06-19-2011 at 11:55 PM. Reason: clarification of meaning
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:12 PM
Trier Trier is offline
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Re: SpectraFix = casein?

Thanks el Tea for the very informative response.

I posted a similar question over on the Soft Pastel Talk sub forum along with some test results using some homemade casein fixative. A previous test using blackboard white chalk and 2 fixatives, Krylon workable fixative and plain water, showed the chalk just disappearing when the fixative spray hit it. This ties right in with what you said re cheap pastels using chalk as a filler.

The test picture over on the Pastel forum shows the cheap pastels shifting value a lot more than the quality ones, as far as I can tell.

Still, the amount of smearing from a finger swipe was much less with the casein fixative, so I am encouraged to fine tune the type of casein and application to get the best combination of permanence and true colors.

I appreciate your thoughts on the hybridization one would get from a mixture of pastel and a heavy application of fixative.

Thanks again, Regards
Trier
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:14 AM
autolisp autolisp is offline
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Re: SpectraFix = casein?

How would you apply the casein made as described by D. B. Clemons.Could it be thinned with distilled water and sprayed onto the surface?

thank you
autolisp
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:06 AM
autolisp autolisp is offline
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Re: SpectraFix = casein?

Quote:
Originally Posted by autolisp
How would you apply the casein made as described by D. B. Clemons.Could it be thinned with distilled water or Isopropanol and sprayed onto the surface?

Thank you
autolisp

Edit:I added 'or Isopropanol' to my previous question.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:06 PM
Trier Trier is offline
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Re: SpectraFix = casein?

Hey autolisp -

Just noticed your post and the answer is Yes, as far as water is concerned; didn't try alcohol.

I used plain water to thin the Clemens casein I made, because it was too thick to spray through the cheapo spray bottle I had. Worked OK for thinning, but the spay was so runny that I had to lay the painting flat on the floor to keep the pastel from running off the support.

I guess a lot would depend on how "fixed" you wanted the pastel to get, and having a more sensitive hand than mine. I was going for the max, so used a lot.

Hope this helps some.

Regards,
Trier
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:42 AM
autolisp autolisp is offline
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Re: SpectraFix = casein?

Trier. Thanks for the reply. I just got a Preval unit and will try that.
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